Q:

What kind of trees do coconuts grow on?

A:

Coconut fruits grow on a Cocos nucifera tree, otherwise known as a coconut palm. The slender, ringed tree trunk reaches heights up to 80 feet, with a swollen base and a crown of giant leaves that splay outward like feathers. Coconuts reach maturity after about a year of ripening, with each tree yielding from 50 to 100 fruits annually.

Encyclopedia Britannica notes that coconut palms grow in tropical environments and thrive when planted close to water, preferably a few feet above high water areas with circulating groundwater and heavy rainfall. Young palms start bearing fruit about five to six years after the seedlings are planted, and it takes them approximately 15 years to fully mature. Most coconut palms reach the end of their fruit-bearing capacity after about 50 years.

One of the most valuable commodities produced from the meat of coconuts is copra, which is used to produce coconut oil, the world's top-ranking vegetable oil, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Coconut oil is an important export of Indonesia and the Philippines. The husk of the coconut produces hoir, a fiber used to make rope, baskets, brushes and mats that are part of daily life in tropical locations. The trunk of the tree itself is often used in the construction of huts and cabinets.

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